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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Diphtheria Rife, City Says

A diphtheria outbreak in Moscow that has infected nearly 600 people and has caused 32 deaths this year can be classified as an epidemic, city health officials said Friday.

They told a press conference that 594 people had been diagnosed with diphtheria in Moscow over the first six month of this year and that the rate of infection was expected to increase rapidly. A total of 938 cases and 23 deaths from diphtheria were registered last year.

Maia Korzhenkova, a diphtheria specialist in the city's health care department, said that the increase in cases was mostly due to a serious decline in infection resistance among the adult population.

The officials added that air tests indicated polio could also soon pose a threat to the city.

"We should prepare for an epidemic of polio next year", Igor Nadezhdin of the health care department told the press conference.